Heroes Review: Cautionary Tales

Families can be dangerous things.

Title: Cautionary Tales

Cast

Jack Coleman as Noah Bennett
Greg Grunburg as Matt Parkman
Sendhil Ramamurthy as Mohinder Suresh
Masi Oka as Hiro Nakamura
Hayden Panettiere as Claire Bennett
Stephen Tobolowsky as Bob
Nicholas D’Agosto as West
Kristen Bell as Elle
James Kyson Lee as Ando Masahashi
Adair Tishler as Molly
George Takei as Kaito Nakamura
David Anders as Adam

Premise

Parkman begins to use his enhanced powers, various characters plays dangerous games in Costa Verde, and Hiro learns the identity of his father’s killer.

High Points

Matt Parkman’s powers are corrupting him, and if the process continues it will be convincing, within character, and believably motivated. We go from a “These aren’t the droids you’re looking for” moment with his supervisor to a glimpse of how dangerous he could become. I wish Lucas had handled Anakin half this believably.

Low Point

Too many things happen which serve the story but make little sense in terms of character, motivation, and plausible reality:

  • The characters do any number of things around Costa Verde in broad daylight (take flight, kidnap people off the street) without residents noticing
  • Hiro’s ability to teleport to a specific place and time alters without explanation
  • Bennett takes precautions to ground Elle when he kidnaps her, and disregards same a short while later during far more risky circumstances
  • Young Hiro fails to notice his father’s exact duplicate standing a few feet away.
  • Bennett, who knows the importance of acting in swift, military fashion, announces his intention to kill Bob.
  • Suresh’s motivations do not entirely convince me.1

The Scores

Originality: 3/6.

Effects: 5/6.

Story: 4/6. The stories cohere and complement each other quite nicely this week. Several elements (addressed under “Low Points”) damage credibility.

Acting: 5/6. The scenes involving Parkman and those with the Nakamuras showcase some strong performers. Elsewhere, dubious dialogue and sloppy writing continue to affect performance. West asking “Mr. Butler! What are you doing?” did not, however, prompt quite as much laughter as the serendipitous fig leaves in Beowulf.

Emotional Response: 4/6

Production: 5/6

Overall: 4/6

In total, “Cautionary Tales” receives out of 30/42.

Lingering Questions

Okay, if everyone healed regularly through Adamic blood and gained immortality, we would have a population crisis. Furthermore, his long life makes Adam a problematic fellow. I remain unclear as to why this makes him more dangerous than an exploding man, however.

Is Adam the original ancestor of the heroes, as his name (and many a fan) suggests? (I’ve had a similar theory about Wolverine in X-Men, but that’s another matter).

1. People are strange beasts. I’d be willing to overlook this one; I’d be willing to overlook many of these. It’s just that there are too many of these.

18 replies on “Heroes Review: Cautionary Tales”

  1. Jethro says:

    Hmm
    I wasn’t sure if Parkman /did/ push what’s her name all the way, but I suppose the name on the photo means he did.

    I wish they’d just let Bennett die. He deserves it.

    But I was hoping that Suresh would’ve said "If you’re gonna shoot, shoot, don’t talk!"

    • smeep says:

      Re: Hmm

      I wish they’d just let Bennett die. He deserves it.

      Are you kidding? Bennett is one of the better characters in the show. He’s so flawed, but his intentions are good. It makes for some great TV. West’s performance… yick. Not a fan of that guy. As for Hiro’s "sudden" control, I don’t think it’s sudden at all. Sure, he went to feudal Japan unintentionally, but that could be explained by emotional circumstances. He came back to the present just fine. I think he can control it fine, as long as he doesn’t let his emotions play on him.

      • belzedaar says:

        Re: Hmm

        He came back to the present just fine. I think he can control it fine, as long as he doesn’t let his emotions play on him.

        The whole reason for Hiro bamfing all over the place in this episode was 100% emotional.

        He does seem to be able to control it a lot better recently. Even back in the past he teleported and paused time exactly how he wanted to. If they think Adam is dangerous, I would say "what about Hiro?" He can go back in time and kill your grandfather. No other hero has the ability to cause anywhere near as much damage. ( Not counting Peter using the same power, of course )

        • y42 says:

          Great Scott!

          Hiro?" He can go back in time and kill your grandfather.

          No he can’t, because that would cause a paradox where your non-existence would mean he wouldn’t have any reason to go back in time and therefore wouldn’t kill your grandfather.

          It’s like how he tried to save the blond in Texas, he couldn’t, his power went wonky when he tried and he even lost his ability to use it for a while afterwards.

          • Timeshredder says:

            Re: Great Scott!

            No he can’t, because that would cause a paradox where your non-existence would mean he wouldn’t have any reason to go back in time and therefore wouldn’t kill your grandfather.

            Unlike Babylon Five, the Heroes folk don’t appear to have worked out how time travel works in their universe. Hiro isn’t recognized by anyone in Texas, but then he leaps backwards in time and suddenly there’s a photo and people are aware of his history with the waitress. However, the Kensei that inspired young Hiro clearly is the legend the older Hiro created, so in that instance, the future Hiro had already affected the past.

            Yet we also know that he can travel to futures that will later be changed and therefore not have happened.

            I don’t think we can say for certain what influence Hiro’s abilities could have, because the writers don’t seem to know. I think we can definitely make a case, at least, for Hiro as the most powerful and dangerous of the heroes.

            • y42 says:

              Re: Great Scott!

              the Heroes folk don’t appear to have worked out how time travel works in their universe. Hiro isn’t recognized by anyone in Texas, but then he leaps backwards in time and suddenly there’s a photo and people are aware of his history with the waitress.

              Hmmm, now that you mention it…

              Dang!

          • TwistyHat says:

            Re: Great Scott!

            Hiro?" He can go back in time and kill your grandfather.

            No he can’t, because that would cause a paradox where your non-existence would mean he wouldn’t have any reason to go back in time and therefore wouldn’t kill your grandfather.

            That notion of "paradox" is an old and outdated way to look at it, science and science fiction has generally droppped that decades ago – you simply cause the creation of new timelines, so there never is or can be paradox. Of course these writers have in hiro created a character which is way too powerfull for their writing abilities so they have to hobble him all the time. Arguably what would be best for the storytelling would be to get rid of him and peter.

            • y42 says:

              Re: Great Scott!

              Hiro?" He can go back in time and kill your grandfather.

              No he can’t, because that would cause a paradox where your non-existence would mean he wouldn’t have any reason to go back in time and therefore wouldn’t kill your grandfather.

              That notion of "paradox" is an old and outdated way to look at it, science and science fiction has generally droppped that decades ago – you simply cause the creation of new timelines, so there never is or can be paradox.

              He can’t prevent the event that caused him to go back in time in the first place.
              He tried. He can’t.

              • belzedaar says:

                Re: Great Scott!

                He can’t prevent the event that caused him to go back in time in the first place.
                He tried. He can’t.

                He couldn’t in the case with Charlie, but it seems that Future Hiro, who came back to warn Peter with the "Save the Cheerleader" deal, managed to get it to work! They saved the cheerleader , thus removing the need for him to come back and tell Peter to save the cheerleader, etc etc. As mentioned above, the writers really don’t seem to know how to deal with time travel in a logically consistent manner. It’s still fun, however :-)

      • Jethro says:

        Re: Hmm

        I wish they’d just let Bennett die. He deserves it.

        Are you kidding?

        Perhaps I didn’t make myself clear (: The guy deserves to DIE IN PEACE, and not get the whole yoyo I’m-Dead-I’m-Alive crap done to him.

        You’re absolutely right, he’s a great character. And West was friggin horrible… but that’s not new.

        I think Hiro has had a lot of practice so he’s a lot better now.

  2. redshadow says:

    Adam’s blood
    I’m pretty convinced at this point that it’s Adam’s/Claire’s blood that starts the plague in the first place. Sure it healed Nathan, but once Bennett is exposed to the disease, it will mutate and cause the pandemic. I think this was Adam’s plan all along, to help the disease cross populations.

  3. y42 says:

    The Lazarus blood
    The implications are insane! How much of Kensei’s rapidly-regenerating blood did they have time to drain and cryogenically preserve in the 30 years they had him captive?
    Enough to make the company’s board of directors essentially immortal?

    Villains can’t stay dead, they have the elixir of life at hand! Sheesh, they’ll have to introduce limits before this gets out of hand (or jump the shark and just sail on whislt happily ignoring the implications).

  4. Tekzel says:

    Paint, corner anyone?
    As much as I still like this show, I think they have just about painted themselves into a corner and don’t know how to get out again. I am hoping they figure it out soon.

  5. cb says:

    Adam’s blood

    Okay, if everyone healed regularly through Adamic blood and gained immortality, we would have a population crisis.

    Have we seen this? I mean, does getting a dose of Adam’s blood grant immortality? For whatever reason, I assumed that a dose of Adam’s blood would grant a dose of healing, but wouldn’t be enough to permanently make the recipient like Adam. Has there been a solid example either way?

    -cb

    • y42 says:

      Re: Adam’s blood

      Okay, if everyone healed regularly through Adamic blood and gained immortality, we would have a population crisis.

      Have we seen this? I mean, does getting a dose of Adam’s blood grant immortality? For whatever reason, I assumed that a dose of Adam’s blood would grant a dose of healing, but wouldn’t be enough to permanently make the recipient like Adam. Has there been a solid example either way?

      Adverbs are important.

  6. TwistyHat says:

    Hiro
    "Young Hiro fails to notice his father’s exact duplicate standing a few feet away"

    It wasn’t a few feet it was a lot longer it was just badly directed. And it’s this old guy on a public graveyard who may or may not look a bit like your father – so what – it can’t be your father, there are no copies of people in the real world – so you don’t think about it

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